PBA: Marcial vows stricter implementation of protocols after positive test

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 25 2020 04:40 PM

MANILA, Philippines -- PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial on Sunday warned of possible fines and sanctions to players, coaches, and other members of the league delegation who will violate the guidelines of their bubble in Clark, Pampanga.

His warning came after a Blackwater player returned a positive result from a COVID-19 test. The player was removed from the Quest Hotel early Sunday morning and transferred to the Athletes' Village in New Clark City, which serves as a quarantine facility.

"Talagang maghihigpit ngayon," Marcial said in a press conference, Sunday morning. 

"Medyo nagiging relaxed na kami eh. Nagiging relaxed," he admitted. "So hihigpitan ulit. Alam ko namang naka-bubble pero hihigpitan ulit yung mga protocols."

Those who don't follow risk fines and sanctions, said the commissioner.

"Sinasabi ulit sa mga PBA delegates na nandito sa bubble, maghihigpit tayo. Pag ma-relax pa rin kayo, relax pa rin kayo, wag naman. Baka magbigay na tayo ng penalty, fines o ano. Wag naman tayo umabot sa ganun. Pero maghihigpit na po tayo," he added.

Marcial says there will be a more thorough check of the packages sent to the players. The existing protocols, such as physical distancing, will be more strictly enforced.

However, there are no plans to close down the recreational facilities at the Quest Hotel, such as the pool or the gym. When a referee was tagged as a suspected positive case last Wednesday, those facilities were shut down and disinfected.

This time around, Bases Conversion and Development Authority President Vince Dizon said there was "no reason to prohibit that."

"Again, we have to reemphasize and we always keep on repeating this sa PBA, yung minimum health standards of wearing masks, washing hands, distancing as much as possible, those have to all be enforced constantly in the bubble," he stressed.

"Whether you are jogging or playing golf or going to the gym, these all must be observed because this is most effective protection from COVID-19," he added. "As long as those standards are followed, we see no reason to limit the activities that have already been allowed."

Team governors will still be allowed to watch games at the AUF Gym under the existing "watch-and-go" system, wherein they will first have to produce a negative result with three days' validity before being allowed to enter the game venue.

The team governors are still barred from entering the Quest Hotel or interacting with the players at the AUF Gym.

"Medyo lang hihigpitan lang natin, yung mga mask, yung mga social distancing," said Marcial. "Halos wala namang pagbabago sa mga procedures, hihigpitan lang natin kung paano yung mga ibang protocols."